Friday, November 24, 2017

How to make effective links with industry

Why make links with industry?

Children taking part in a classroom activity from the CIEC resource Water for Industry
Making links with industry benefits children as it motivates and engages them; it helps them to realise that science is both important and relevant to their lives; it raises their aspirations as they can see that studying science is worthwhile and can lead to exciting careers.  There is strong evidence that children already have strongly developed ideas which affect their future career choices before the age of eleven so it is important to engage with young people while they are still at primary school.

It is beneficial to industry as by supporting young people to make informed decisions about the subjects that they study they are investing in a future workforce which is drawn from a more diverse cross section of society.  It also helps challenge negative preconceptions about industry for all of the children who visit, not just those who might go on to work in the sector.

Finally, links with industry benefit teachers as they are an exciting and innovative way to cover the National Curriculum for Science.

Bronze Standard: Industry as a context for science lessons
A selection of CIEC resources
Real life contexts based on industry provide engaging problem solving activities (such as the one described here).  They cover the learning objectives in a way that is both memorable and meaningful.   CIEC has worked in collaboration with many industry partners to produce a library of resources and lesson plans which will support teachers to do this.

Silver Standard: Visits from Industry Ambassadors

Giving children the opportunity to meet people who work in industry is a valuable way to build upon experiences in class.  Ideally they will meet children in small groups as this allows for more interaction.  Children are especially excited to see demonstrations or to handle artifacts brought in from the work place.  If ambassadors plan to show electronic presentations they should be encouraged to base these on pictures rather than text.  A particular benefit of ambassador visits is that children realise that STEM subjects can lead to exciting jobs done by real people!

Gold Standard: Children visiting industry

Children visiting Chemoxy in Teeside
Industry visits can be an opportunity for children to see, on a large scale, processes such as filtration that they have carried out in the classroom.  It is a wonderful opportunity to foster positive attitudes and research has shown that children value and remember industry visits for many years.  Moreover, it is an experience that has been cited by some, now working in industry, as the moment that they realised that this is what they wanted to do!  It is particularly valuable if they are able to see both male and female employees and people from diverse backgrounds.  

Children during a visit to Fujifilm Diosynth

This blog post is based upon a chapter in the Primary Science Subject Leader Guide written by Joy Parvin.  

This survival guide, published by the Association of Science Education, is availabe to all ASE members free of charge and can be found at

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